Monday, November 1, 2010

This week I have mostly been admiring: the perseverence of aging rockers

Its one of life's cruel inevitability's that we're all going to have to suffer the unfortunate, embarrassing circumstances and symptoms of aging. Being a man, well, technically anyway, I have to look forward to finally giving in and purchasing that nasal hair trimmer, coping with an expanding prostate and on receipt of a spam email selling Viagra, seriously contemplating taking the plunge.
But I had a dream once as a younger man, a wonderful dream, a dream that would let me forgo the tedious responsibilities of adult life and be free, yes, I was once in a half baked, half assed rock band called the Hot Freaks.
We were on the cusp of fame, we had a myspace page (sadly no longer operational, the only thing remaining is the background of the page showing "The Hot Freaks ROCK, YEAH!!" written on a toilet wall situated in a service station near Colchester"), we played a generation defining gig at a friends barbecue where, during the grand finale, (we were playing our best song, an epic, emotional paean to Reginald Mitchell, inventor of the spitfire) I looked up from my guitar to discover the entire crowd of 4 people had nipped out the back for a smoke. The fact that 2 of them didn't even smoke made it seem much worse.

Then fatherhood, marriage, a contract position in Swindon and an unexpected circumcision came along and the band dissolved.
Some people though don't let this deter them, they continue to follow their dream even though the years rapidly turn against them.
Living indie rock legend Bob Pollard for instance, he toiled in obscurity for years writing and recording songs in his basement until he finally gave up his job as a primary school teacher in his mid 30's and released 2 of the greatest, most badly recorded rock albums ever forged by man. See Bob and Guided by Voices here.
Then theres Anvil who soldiered on for 30 years after their initial 15 minutes of fame in the early eighties until they finally got the attention they deserved as the subjects of the inspirational documentary 'The story of Anvil.'
And of course there is the most famous example from recent years, Susan Boyle, the slightly deranged cat lady who on Britains Got Talent unexpectedly turned out to be a deranged cat lady with a warbly singing voice.
Now I'm not saying she can't sing (or am I?) but it was the whole package that made her famous, the hint she may be a closet axe wielding maniac, the bushy eyebrows, the frumpy dress that looked like it was fashioned from a pair of old curtains. This is what made made watching her achieve her dream of performing in front of a large audience so compelling, because it was so unexpected.
And in Australia we now have Altiyan Childs, he occasionally sleeps in a cave and when he sings he looks like he's taking part in a gurning competition, but before the evil corporate bullies of X factor polish him until any remnants of personality are gone, I find the aging rocker strangely inspirational.
All these people and others I haven't had time to mention give me hope as I ride into Sydney on my interminable commute to my tedious office job, because if they didn't give up as they drifted into the mediocrity of middle age then why must I give up my dream of getting off the hamster wheel of misery that is a 9 to 5 job.
So why not crack open the guitar case and record that over earnest ballad that I wrote 10 years ago, where theres life theres hope and in the words of Jimmy McIlroy "If you dream it, you can do it".

Have a look at The story of Anvil below:

If you have any comments on Bob Pollard, Reginald Mitchell or the overuse of brackets in this posting then please feel free to leave them. I could really do with the attention.

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